from person to person and genetion to generation is known as transmission. [sticks clacking] [cultural music montage] practice 16th notes. (slobin) musical transmission means learning and teaching music. music continues because people teach it to each other. kids learn music when they grow up. [low-pitched humming] all of us have learned songs simply because they were there in the atmosphere.
we may have learned them from family members, which is extremely common. [violin plays] where is this? i can't even see it. (slobin) we may have learned them from teachers, which happens in organized school systems. we may have learned them from records, radios, recordings which is, of course, probably the most common way we hear things these days. but we are constantly hearing and learning music from the minute we're born. (brown) some societies organize it very formally. for example, in indian classical music, you spend years apprentice to a guru. you move into the guru's house, and you have lessons every day for several hours, and you do things a thousand times. [drumming and chanting] in some other cultures, it's less formally organized.
in africa, you might learn music as a kid. you grow up in a village, and you hear the music of a particular ceremony going on. you like the music, and so you get together with your friends, and you get some pots and pans, or whatever you can find, and you start banging out the rhythms on those drums. eventually, you get to be pretty good, either that or you get run out of town, right? usually, you learn and you start to pick up some skills, and then if somebody sees that you have some promise, they might take you aside and say, "hey, instead of doing that the way you're doing it, do it a little bit like this." you use your eyes, and you use your ears. you watch and you listen and you imitate. [drumming continues]
let's look at these scales. (averill) to learn music is to do something akin to learning a language (pagano) that's it. now try it. (averill) and very often, as kids learn music, they're taught the grammar, the rules, the syntax of the musical language. they learn this by rote. [drumbeats] do it slowly. (averill) eventually, the idea is that they can then bring something of their own style, something of their own spirit to the music and transform it-- make it something personal. take the example of jazz musicians who study solos of previous jazz greats who learn to reproduce those solos note by note. then they're able to take their own solos to begin to do something brilliant and creative and imaginative.
(redman) i usually say that i'm self-taught because i never had a real private instructor as a saxophonist. but my teachers i consider to be the great musicians from the past and the great musicians from the present. i've learned from listening to the records. i consider sonny rollins one of my greatest teachers even though i've never met the man. so the way i've learned is by listening and by playing with great musicians both great older musicians-- my elders, masters-- but also with my peers. i think i've learned just as much playing with other young musicians who are in the same boat that i'm in, you know, trying the learn the music, trying to learn the history, and at the same time, trying to establish our own individual voices.
[electric guitar playing jazz] ultimately, every time you make music with somebody, some of their experience and their knowledge-- some of their soul is transmitted to you, and vice versa, some of yours is transmitted to them. [jazz music continues] [rock music] (donovan) i always have this really nice memory of when i first started to think "boy, i'd sure like to play. that would be the shit. that would be fun." and i remember sitting on my bed with my drumsticks and my black t-shirt on and putting on headphones because my parents were in the next room
and listening to ac/dc records or led zeppelin records and just smacking the bed as hard as i could with these drumsticks and dust is flying all over the place. and just like going through record after record, and a whole evening would pass, and i'd take the headphones off and not even realize any time had passed. (buynak) who wait... keith richards said, "everything you ever listened to comes out in what you play," which is very true. (dispirito) for young musicians, the process of learning rock and roll is often very closely related to their album collection-- the cds they have at home, their favorite musicians, their favorite artists--they try to mimic what they're hearing. [guitar playing with recording] a guitar student has so many different teachers, if you will,
to choose from given that so much is really learned through sound recordings. that's not to say that the teaching tradition isn't happening here where you can go and find a fine guitar teacher or piano teacher and learn that way. it's just that the proliferation of sound recordings has really provided, in and of itself, a whole school for learning just through listening and mimicking. [rock music with dueling electric guitars] (narrator) in many church choirs, music is also learned aurally. choir members learn their parts by listening, imitating, and memorizing the music. ♪ jesus is a rock in a weary land, ♪ ♪ a weary land, a weary land. ♪
♪ jesus is a rock in a weary land, ♪ ♪ a shelter in the time of storm. ♪ ♪ i would not be a sinner... (hamnd) in teaching a gospel choir, what i have to do is to listen to a tape, see if it's relevant for the spirit of our service, and be able to take the individual voice parts off that tape and teach it to our choir. here's the first. ♪ jesus is a rock in a weary land. ♪ sing that. in a rehearsal, i generally teach the melody first so everybo's aware. i go through the soprano part, and i teach them their part. and then i go to the altos and teach them their part. ♪ jesus is a rock in a weary land, ♪ sing that. (choir singing) ♪ jesus is a rock in a weary land, ♪ ♪ a shelter in the time of storm. ♪ you take one voice part, leave it alone, you take the next voice part, teach them their respective part, couple them together,
and then put the third part together with it. that's called layering. that's an effective tool for teaching by rote. ♪ jesus is a rock in a weary land, ♪ ♪ a shelter in the time of storm. ♪ (hammond) after rehearsal, they take the words home with them. very often, they'll tape the rehearsal, and then they learn their parts at home. when they come to the next rehearsal, they're prepared. what i'd like to do now is to start with the tenor section, then the alto and the soprano, and then i'll add the bass. they don't have the music sitting in front of them because that destroys the power of the text that gospel music can bring. so memorization is a very, very essential element in communicating effectively the power of gospel music. ♪ a weary land, a weary land, a weary land. ♪ they have to become one with the music and show it through their facial expressions, through their body movements. it has to become them. they have to be convinced that this is what god has done for them.
(narrator) another important way music can be transmitted is through notation. [airy flute music] notation systems graphically represent musical elements or specific performance information in order to preserve music. [ensemble plays classical music] (pagano) notation is how the composer communicates to the performer. it's kind of the medium. the composer writes down what he wants in as much detail as he can, and the performer takes that. [music continues]
so notation guides us, and we can get inside what the composer was thinking. it's almost as if we're joined with the composer. (narrator) methods of notation can change over time. since the 17th century, composers in the western classical tradition have become increasingly concerned with prescribing as much detail of the performance as possible. [ensemble playing early music] in earlier periods, composers often provided little more than melodies and rhythms leaving details such as ornamentation, dynamics, and instrumentation to the performers. (herreid) one of our challenges in doing old music is that all the music that comes down to us survives in manuscripts, or in the 16th century, in printed sources. these manuscripts tell us very little about how the music was actually performed. a piece might have four parts with no words,
maybe meant for instruments, but it won't say. the composers either didn't care what instruments it was played on or it was so obvious to the people at the time that it would be appropriate for recorders say or for viols or for a lute ensemble. my father has a dance band. they have music for tenor sax and alto sax, piano, and bass. there's also a drummer in the band, of course, because you don't have a dance band without a drummer, but the drummer doesn't use music. [rowdy dixieland music] so if some musicologists came a hundred years from now without any clue as to what the dance band was about and reconstructed it, he would not put a drummer in it. and that would be ludicrous to us because you don't have a dance band especially the sound
of the '30s dance band without a drummer. and so when we find manuscripts, maybe there's crucial parts that are missing from it that those musicians improvised, or we don't even know if professional musicians in the 15th century read music. it's possible that the manuscripts that survive were not meant for musicians. they were meant for their patrons-- say a nice copy to give to the king so that he could have it in his library. [low-pitched string music] (narrator) another form of notation known as tablature shows instrumentalists where to place their fingers rather symbolically representing sound. because notation for the chinese chin does not specify all aspects of performance, players must develop their own rhythmic interpretations.
(yu) the chin music is a very ancient chinese music. there are more than 3,000 pieces of chin music existing in china in a simplified chinese character notation. this tablature shows you which string your hand put out and what kind of techniques. but unfortunately, there's no rhythm at all which means you cannot read off music directly from the notation. in most cases, different chin player has their own different interpretation for the same piece. but if the interpretation is very good and everybody likes it, then you become popular and people accept it.
(narrator) while notation and sound recording can preserve music, it is the teacher who instructs a student in how to perform. this relationship varies from culture to culture. in japan, it involves the student listening to, imitating, and playing along with the teacher. (oba) in older days, people actually lived with their teachers and helped with the domestic chores. while doing that, they get the essence of their master's techniques and aesthetics. when we learn shamisen these days,
we use the notation score, although it is a pretty recent practice. it is very similar to a guitar or lute tablature so the position you put your fingers and in what manner you play some special techniques are prescribed in that notation. but i have to learn it by watching because there's no way to see how certain timbre effects will be created. when i come to the lesson, usually my teacher plays with me. [singing while playing together] (hahn) in learning how to play, we don't actually talk about the structure of the music.
you just play side by side with your teacher. this is a little different than western music where the teacher will sit to the side and watch you play. you're always playing at the same time so that you can watch and also find a connection to this art. (narrator) in north india, there's also a highly formalized method of transmitting musical knowledge from teacher to disciple. students learn directly by imitating what their teacher sings or plays. traditionally, music students used to live in the house of their teachers or gurus, where they performed chores
and received daily instruction. this master/disciple tradition continues today in a modified form. (spiegel) in india, it's called the guru-sishya parampara-- the teacher/student tradition-- where the student treats his teacher likes he's next to god. my musical hero was alla rakha who i had listened to on many recordings. i had no money, but i would go and meet him and sleep on the floor of his hotel and take care of errands and help out with driving, cooking, shopping, cleaning, anything. and when he felt like it, he would teach me. these lessons were not formal. he never wrote anything down for me. in fact, i never sat in front of him with drums.
he only would recite compositions to me, and i was expected to remember them and, at a later time, write them down. (das gupta) in our instrumental music, you have to gather the ability or acquire the ability of singing whatever you are playing. the teacher can say to you, "here's a theme, "gi-ni-da, da-ga-da-da, da-ga-da, kae-na-ga-da, da-ga-na-da, di-ni-di-ni-da." and then you recite back to him, gi-ni-da, da-ga-da-da, da-ga-da, kae-na-ga-da, da-ga-na-da, di-ni-di-ni-da. ♪ ah-ma-nei-za, ma-ma-nei-za, ♪ ♪ nei-pa-ba-lama-lama- ba-lama-nei-za. ♪ you have to reproduce. [plays same piece] this ability comes only from singing whatever you're playing. it requires a lot of memory, and you have to be on your toes at all times because you don't know when you're going to get a lesson. it could be in a restaurant.
it could be late at night while he's in bed. it could be in the car, in rush hour traffic in new york city on the way to the airport. but when it occurred to him to teach, that's when it was time for you to learn; time for me to learn. so i did that for about almost 20 years. [drumming] why don't we play the first part. we'll see what needs to be done. the first movement up to here? no. just the exposition of the first movement. [plays light, bouncy piece] (pagano) there's so many facets to be considered in classical music that one really needs to be guided. music is sound, and to describe a sound in words is so much more difficult than a demonstration. when we're playing, we have to make it really obvious.
so when you crescendo to the top of this, you know, when you do this, [plays] it's beautiful, but this one. [plays] once you hear it, it becomes completely apparent, and that's one of the really important things. that's it. keep it up. now what? good. when a student first comes to learn piano, there are a lot of things that need to be covered: notation, that is how to read the music, how to read the rhythm, how to read the notes, the dynamics, basic interpretations-- where's the one that you need to do a little bit more? i'm also very concerned that they begin at a very, very early age-- the musical concepts. so i really try to talk about phrasing as early as five years old so that it's not something
that they kind of have to learn later-- that it becomes the language, because music is a language, and if you don't learn to speak in sentences, if you caught up in little words or little notes, then you don't have music. feel the energy and the spirit of it, okay? good. (chavez) when we learn the piece, we have to make sure we have the right fingering and dynamics, and we have to definitely make sure we have the rhythm. otherwise, it could come out any way you want it to. crescendo means you get louder, and decrescendo means you get softer. if you have dynamics, it changes in mood, and when people are about say, "oh, this is so nice." all a sudden it jumps up or something. (pagano) some teachers really insist that you play exactly like them, and that's their style of teaching. my teacher, leon fleischer, seemed to impart more ideals
and principles that could guide us into further understanding the music. through all of that, whether consciously or unconsciously, you end up sounding like your teacher. [thundering piano chord] jennifer kim has been taking piano lessons with me since she was five years old, and she's playing very advanced repertoire now. she is understanding it on a really deep level at this point, and i'm kind of guiding her almost as a coach. i give her a little more space. i hear so much thumb. (kim) i think that when i was around five or so, my main goal was trying to get a sticker on my page. to say, "yeah, by october 22nd, i got this piece right."
the ear is going to hear this [plays] right? (kim) i think very recently i looked at music on a totally different level where i dissect the piece first in my mind. and then i try to work it out in my hands. (pagano) i do find a point where there's a very profound change, and it usually happens around the age of 13 or 14. they all of the sudden understand what music means to them. they're moved by it, and it is part of them, and it's become part of their life, and they will always have it because it's their's, and they own it. [classical piano music continues]
here, kitty, kitty! here, kitty, kitty, kitty! here, kitty, kty you'd think it would be ea to tell which kids had trouble with their eyesight. [ thud ] but that's not always the case. even though one in four children may have a vision problem, eye doctors tell us the symptoms aren't always so obvious. we do know that 80% of all childhood learning is visual. and without good vision, kids can have trouble learning to read. [ girls screaming ] ow! and may fall behind in school. for clues on how to spot